Beni Hospital in need of medical staffThe only public hospital in Myagdi is reeling under staff shortage as Gandaki government did not renew contract of 30 health workers it had hired at the beginning of the pandemic two years ago.
Health services have been hit at Beni Hospital in Beni, the district headquarters of Myagdi, due to a shortage of human resources.
The only public hospital in Myagdi has been reeling under a manpower shortage as the Gandaki Provincial government did not renew the contract of 30 health workers it had hired at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic two years ago.
Sixteen staff nurses, four health assistants, two pharmacists, two lab technicians, one radiographer and five office assistants had been working at the hospital on a contract basis for the past two years. They were appointed under the Covid-19 control fund of the province.
However, the provincial executive did not extend their contracts this year, which expired on November 10.
For patients visiting the hospital, the shortage means waiting all day to see a doctor or get their lab reports.
“Earlier, we could get an appointment with a doctor without having to wait for long but these days the waiting time has increased significantly,” said Purna Bahadur Khatri of Singa in Beni Municipality-4. “Even laboratory reports are delayed.”
Until last year, there were three doctors at the Outpatients Department of the hospital but today there’s only one.
“The only doctor at the hospital examines patients at the OPD. But he has to look after patients in other departments too and is always busy,” said Khatri.
The shortage of doctors, nurses, lab technicians and other health workers has affected services at not just the OPD but also at the wards and emergency unit of the hospital.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the Gandaki provincial government would send intern doctors to Beni Hospital. The government would deploy eight MBBS doctors from Tribhuvan and Purbanchal universities to the hospital. But starting this year, the government has put an end to the provision, shifting its focus to primary health centres.
“The government now sends interns to primary health centres and none to Beni Hospital,” said Dr Jitendra Kandel, the medical superintendent at the hospital. “Earlier, the interns would work at the hospital for at least a year before they moved out.”
The 50-bed hospital has the posts for eight specialist doctors and four medical officers. But the hospital has only one medical officer at present. Besides the officer, there are two intern doctors and a doctor managed by a social organisation.
Similarly, five out of seven posts of staff nurses and four out of five posts for auxiliary nursing midwives are vacant at the hospital, as the health workers are on study leave.
To make up for the staff shortage, the hospital management committee has appointed two staff nurses on a contract basis while three other nurses have been appointed by various social organisations.
The seven staff nurses have been working at the OPD, inpatient department, emergency unit, labour room, post-operative ward, dialysis centre, safe abortion service and neonatal care unit at the hospital.
Owing to the shortage of human resources, Beni Hospital closed its Covid-19 isolation ward a few weeks ago.
“We have a limited number of doctors, staff nurses and other health workers who are working round the clock. This has affected health services at the hospital,” said Dr Jitendra Kandel, the medical superintendent at the hospital.